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Complete Guide To CBD Laws in the UK

cbd laws in the uk

Navigating the complex landscape of Cannabidiol (CBD) laws in the United Kingdom can be challenging. Our comprehensive guide provides an in-depth analysis of the regulatory framework governing the use, production, and sale of CBD products in the UK. From understanding the basic principles and benefits of CBD, to the specific legalities surrounding various CBD products and its use in activities such as driving and sports, this guide serves as a valuable resource. It also offers insights into the future predictions of UK CBD legislation changes, helping readers stay ahead of potential updates in this dynamic regulatory environment.

Key Takeaways

  • CBD products in the UK must contain less than 1mg of controlled cannabinoids such as THC.
  • CBD cannot be sold as medicine in the UK, only as a food supplement.
  • The sale of CBD flower and bud is prohibited, regardless of THC content.
  • Consumers should research and buy from trusted sources to ensure legality, safety, and quality of CBD products.

Understanding CBD: Basics and Uses

To fully comprehend the legal landscape surrounding CBD in the UK, one must first understand the basic properties of CBD and its myriad of uses. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid extracted from cannabis or hemp plants. It interacts with the body's Endocannabinoid System, leading to a range of potential benefits like pain relief and improved sleep. This understanding of CBD forms the basis for our Ultimate Guide to CBD laws in the UK.

The legal status of CBD in the UK is governed by specific criteria. CBD was legalized in the UK in 2018, but with stringent restrictions. For instance, the THC limit for hemp plant cultivation is 0.2%, while finished CBD products require a 0.0% THC level to be fully legal. This ensures that CBD products do not have psychoactive effects, a factor that significantly influences the laws surrounding CBD in the UK.

CBD products must comply with legislative requirements, which dictate that they should not be mislabeled or unsafe. In line with UK law, CBD cannot be sold as medicine and is only allowed as a food supplement. This is an important aspect of the legal framework that governs CBD use in the UK.

Our Guide to CBD aims to provide clarity on these in-depth aspects of the legal status of CBD in the UK. By understanding CBD and its uses, as well as the laws surrounding it, we can navigate this new and evolving landscape with confidence and compliance.

Legal Status of CBD in the UK

In light of the aforementioned information about CBD, we now delve into the specific legal status of CBD products in the UK. It is crucial to understand that although CBD is legal in the UK, it is subject to strict regulations under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The Home Office plays a pivotal role in enforcing these regulations, which are part of the broader cannabis laws in the UK.

CBD extracts and isolates require an authorization for sale in England and Wales, making them a controlled substance under UK law. To obtain this authorization, safety information is paramount for the validation and potential approval of CBD products. This measure ensures that all CBD products on the market meet the stringent safety criteria set by the UK government.

Despite the legal status of CBD in the UK, the sale of CBD flower and bud remains prohibited, regardless of whether the THC content is below 0.2%. Furthermore, a license from the Home Office is required for hemp cultivation, underscoring the government's commitment to control the production and sale of CBD products.

It is also important to note that CBD cannot be marketed as a medicine in the UK, but only as a food supplement. This distinction is a key part of the regulations governing the legal status of CBD in the UK and forms an integral part of any complete guide to CBD laws in the UK. It is therefore essential for both consumers and businesses to familiarize themselves with these laws to ensure compliance.

Criteria for Legal CBD Products

Building on the legal status of CBD in the UK, it is important to delve into the specific criteria that define what constitutes a legal CBD product within the country. The UK has set stringent criteria for legal CBD products to ensure consumer safety and product quality.

One of the principal criteria involves the THC levels in CBD products available in the UK market. CBD products, including CBD oils, must contain less than 1mg of controlled cannabinoids such as THC. This requirement is in place to prevent psychoactive effects, as THC is the compound responsible for the 'high' in cannabis.

In addition to THC levels, CBD products must comply with legislative requirements and obtain Novel Foods authorization. This means full novel food applications must be submitted for each product, with safety information being a crucial factor for the application to be validated. Each application is considered on its own merits, and data from one cannot be used for another without permission. As such, authorised CBD products are those that have undergone this rigorous process.

CBD vape products and CBD products for pets have unique requirements. Vape products need to comply with non-nicotine e-liquid regulations, while pet products are considered veterinary medicines and require marketing approval. However, there are currently no authorised CBD products for pets in the UK.

Specific CBD Products and UK Law

Understanding the legality of specific CBD products in the UK involves a deep dive into the regulatory framework that governs their production, sale, and use. This framework is shaped by several bodies, including the Food Standards Agency, Trading Standards, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

CBD oil, a popular UK CBD product, is legal provided it meets specific criteria. For instance, it should only contain trace levels of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis. This rule applies to all CBD edibles which are legal to consume in the UK under the same conditions. Nonetheless, anyone looking to buy legal CBD should be aware that CBD food products require authorization before they can be legally sold in the UK. Currently, no CBD extracts or isolates have this authorization.

CBD vape products, on the other hand, must comply with non-nicotine e-liquid regulations. As for hemp tea, it is legal if milled or crushed, but cannot be sold as whole CBD bud or unprocessed CBD flower. Specific CBD products and UK law also dictate that CBD cosmetics are regulated by the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) and must not contain controlled substances.

Common Questions About UK CBD Laws

While navigating the complexities of UK CBD laws, several common questions often arise, which we will address in this section to provide clarity and guidance. One of the most common questions about UK CBD laws pertains to the status of CBD products. As confirmed in January 2019, CBD is classified as a novel food, and as such, products containing CBD require a novel food application before they can be legally sold in the UK.

This leads to another question: What is a novel food application? An application is a process whereby safety information, including data from animal studies, is submitted for validation. It is important to note that literature information alone is not sufficient for the toxicological aspects of the application. Only CBD ingredients with more than 98% CBD should generate animal study data.

The discussion around CBD often brings up concerns about THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis. In the UK, CBD products must contain less than 1mg of controlled cannabinoids, such as THC. Therefore, products containing more THC are not legal.

Another query often raised is about the range of CBD products in the UK. The list of CBD products linked to novel food applications includes products available before February 13, 2020. Non-compliant CBD products risk being removed from the market by local authorities.

Buying Legal CBD: Trusted Sources

Navigating the marketplace for legal CBD products in the UK requires knowledge of trusted sources and compliance with regulatory standards. Under CBD laws in the UK, consumers are advised to purchase from reputable CBD brands. These trusted sources typically maintain transparency about their CBD isolates and extracts, ensuring they are derived from hemp and not marijuana, which is illegal.

When buying legal CBD, remember that CBD products must comply with guidelines set by the MHRA, FSA, and other regulatory bodies. These requirements include correct labelling and safety assurances. If a CBD company fails to comply, local authorities may remove the non-compliant products from the market.

It is also essential to ensure that the CBD product purchased contains less than 1mg of controlled cannabinoids like THC. Exceeding this limit is deemed illegal, even if the CBD is derived from hemp. This is a crucial aspect of CBD laws in the UK that consumers must be aware of to avoid purchasing illegal products.

Trusted sources for CBD products usually provide extensive information about their product's safety profile and compliance with the law. These companies apply for authorisation for their products, showing a commitment to maintaining quality and legal standards. Hence, consumers are encouraged to research and buy from these trusted sources to ensure their CBD products are legal, safe, and of high quality.

CBD and UK Driving Regulations

A significant number of CBD users in the UK are unaware that they could potentially be breaking the law when they get behind the wheel after consuming certain CBD products. This is a crucial aspect of CBD and UK driving regulations that needs to be addressed in our complete guide to CBD laws in the UK.

While it is legal to consume CBD in the UK, it is important to consider the potential side effects before getting behind the wheel. CBD, derived from the cannabis plant, is gaining popularity in the UK's CBD market for its therapeutic benefits. However, certain CBD products, particularly those categorised as medical cannabis, may contain more than trace levels of THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

The consumption of these THC-containing CBD products could potentially impair a user's ability to drive safely, leading to a violation of UK driving laws. Although the side effects of CBD are generally minimal, higher concentrations of THC can cause drowsiness, slow reaction times, and impaired motor skills, which can be dangerous while driving.

It's important to note that the law does not distinguish between illegal drugs and legal, prescription or over-the-counter medicines if they impair driving abilities. Therefore, even if medical cannabis is legally prescribed and consumed, it could still result in prosecution if it is deemed to have affected your driving.

Travelling With CBD: UK Laws

Understanding one's legal obligations when travelling with CBD products in the UK is crucial to avoid potential legal complications. The cultivation of industrial hemp is regulated, and CBD edibles, along with other CBD products, are subjected to strict guidelines set by the Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Trade bodies and local authorities are responsible for enforcing these regulations.

To legally carry CBD edibles or cannabis oil, it is important to consider the levels of THC in the product. THC is a psychoactive compound found in cannabis and is strictly controlled under UK law. CBD products must contain less than 0.2% THC to be considered legal.

There are also specific rules for healthcare products containing CBD. As of January 2019, CBD was classified as a novel food, meaning that businesses need to apply for authorization to market and sell any CBD extracts or isolates. This includes a need for specific safety information about CBD to be provided to gain potential authorization.

Fulfilling the legal requirements for the sale and consumption of CBD products is essential to avoid any legal implications. Non-compliant products may be removed from the market by local authorities, and individuals found carrying these products may face legal penalties.

For anyone with Questions About CBD and its legality, it is recommended to seek advice from a legal professional or consult government websites for up-to-date information. Understanding and adhering to these laws can ensure a hassle-free travel experience with CBD products in the UK.

CBD Use in Sports: UK Guidelines

Regulating the use of CBD in sports, the UK has established specific guidelines to ensure the safety and fair competition among athletes. The rise in the popularity of CBD is attributed to its potential benefits to the body's Endocannabinoid System which could influence recovery, inflammation, and pain management, making it attractive to athletes. However, athletes intending to take CBD must adhere to the UK's stringent rules.

The 'CBD use in sports: UK guidelines' stipulate that CBD food products must receive authorization before being legally sold in Great Britain. This policy ensures that only safe, high-quality CBD products enter the market, enhancing the protection of athletes. Non-compliant CBD products could be removed from the market to maintain a level playing field in sports.

Moreover, CBD cannot be sold as medicine and is only allowed as a food supplement. This particular rule helps to regulate the new CBD products sprouting up in the market, ensuring they meet the requisite standards. Safety information is crucial for the validation and potential authorization of CBD products, allowing athletes to use CBD without the risk of adverse health effects.

With the increasing popularity of CBD, athletes need to understand the complete guide to CBD laws in the UK. Notably, THC, a psychoactive compound, must not easily separate from the oil in CBD products, preventing any potential psychoactive effects.

This article aims to help you understand the complexities surrounding the use of CBD in sports in the UK, emphasizing the importance of compliance with the rules for the safety and integrity of sports.

Future Predictions: UK CBD Legislation Changes

How might the legal landscape for CBD in the UK transform in the future, considering the potential changes to the authorization process, increased oversight, and possible amendments to the criteria for legal CBD products? Future changes to the UK CBD legislation may include updates on the authorization process for CBD food products to ensure safety standards are met. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) could introduce stricter regulations to comply with the European Union's novel food regulation, which requires all CBD food products to be approved before they are marketed.

The CBD market's evolution could lead to heightened regulation and oversight by regulatory bodies such as the FSA, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and Trading Standards. This increased oversight could impact the types of CBD products available for sale and consumption in the UK by tightening the criteria for legal CBD products.

Moreover, potential revisions to the permissible THC concentration levels in CBD edibles could affect their availability and marketability. The current THC limit in the UK is 0.2%, a figure derived from hemp, the cannabis strain with low THC content. Any changes to this limit could significantly impact the CBD industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Bring CBD Into Uk?

Yes, you can bring CBD into the UK, provided it complies with UK laws. It must contain no more than 0.2% THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. Additionally, it should be derived from an EU-approved industrial hemp strain. However, if the CBD product is considered a medicine, you will require a prescription. It is advisable to carry supporting documentation to avoid potential issues at customs.

What Is the Maximum CBD in the Uk?

In the UK, there is no specified maximum CBD content. However, CBD products must adhere to certain legal parameters. For instance, CBD extracts and isolates require authorization for sale. Furthermore, finished CBD products must contain no THC to be completely legal, and any product must have less than 1mg of controlled cannabinoids like THC. As such, the 'maximum' CBD is essentially the highest percentage that meets these other criteria.

Is CBD Classified as a Drug in the Uk?

In the United Kingdom, CBD is not classified as a drug. Instead, it is considered a novel food by the Food Standards Agency. As such, it requires authorization for legal sale, and cannot be marketed or sold as medicine. Strict criteria are in place for legal CBD products to ensure safety and compliance. However, businesses must submit comprehensive safety information and toxicological data in order to receive approval for sale.

Can You Drive With CBD in Your System Uk?

Yes, you can legally drive with CBD in your system in the UK. However, the THC content in the CBD must be within legal limits, specifically less than 1mg. Although CBD consumption is legal and does not typically impair driving abilities, users should ensure that their CBD products comply with UK law. It is also advisable to adhere to recommended dosages and guidelines when consuming CBD edibles to ensure safe driving.


In conclusion, understanding the intricacies of CBD laws in the UK is paramount for consumers and sellers to ensure compliance with legal regulations. This comprises the legal status, criteria for legal products, product-specific laws, and guidelines for CBD use in sports, driving, and travelling. As the legislation evolves, keeping informed about future changes will be crucial. This guide provides a comprehensive overview, thus aiding in navigating the complex landscape of UK CBD laws.

Marshan B.


Marshan B.

Marshan Beals is a co-partner at Client Verge Inc. With 8 years of experience in digital marketing, his expertise extends beyond digital marketing for cannabis brands. He is also a sponsor of the High Profits ebook, available for download when you sign up for our email list.